Safe Haven in the Chaos

BY : IdrilsSecret
Category: S through Z > The Walking Dead
Dragon prints: 3108
Disclaimer: I do not own the walking dead or any of the characters. No money is being made from the writing of these stories

Chapter 27 A Plague Of Wolves

 

Aaron and Tara headed out into the open, carefully making their way towards the weapons room. All they were armed with were a couple knives, one that Aaron had gotten from Eric’s kitchen. So far they had avoided detection, but they had seen a few of the intruders as they ran through the streets.

“Who do you think they are?” Tara whispered as they hid around the corner of a building.

Aaron stuck his head out to observe a couple men dressed in dark colors. One had a baseball bat, the other had an axe. Suddenly, a resident ran out of his house, chased by a third man. The resident ran right into the two men waiting in front of the house. The guy with the bat hit the victim in the head, knocking him to the ground. He swung a few more times, until blood stained the shirt of the man being hit.

“Shit,” Aaron said under his breath. There was nothing he could do. They were too far away.

“What?” Tara whispered from behind.

“They got Al,” Aaron told her.

“We need to get to the guns,” she said desperately.

Aaron watched the man with the bat. He wiped his finger in Al’s blood and scrawled something on his forehead. When the attacker looked up, Aaron noticed a bloody W painted on the man’s head.

“I’ve seen that before,” Aaron said. Tara looked around the corner to see what Aaron was talking about. “That sign, the W. Daryl and I came across a dead woman tied to a tree, and she had that same thing carved into her forehead.”

“What’s it mean?” Tara asked.

“Nothing good. I think this is some rogue group going around invading camps, stealing their supplies, killing survivors. I’ve seen roamers with the same markings, too. Perhaps they mark their victims and leave them to turn,” Aaron said.

“It doesn’t make sense why anyone would leave the dead to turn,” Tara wondered.

“At the cannery where Daryl and I got trapped, there were lots of roamers stored in trucks, like a trap. We opened one door and they all opened, releasing them. Most had the same W carved into their heads. I still don’t understand it.”

“Well,” Tara said. “Whatever is going on, they’re inside Alexandria. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them take over this place.”

“With Rick, Daryl and the rest out on this practice run, it’s up to us to stop it. You ready to do this?” Aaron asked.

“As I’ll ever be. Let’s go.”

Just as they stepped out from the building, they heard a loud crash and a horn blew steadily. “What the hell is that?” Tara asked.

“Nothing good,” Aaron said again.

Suddenly, a man jumped out at them, and started to attack Tara with a large metal pipe. He didn’t see Aaron, who grabbed his arm to keep him from hitting Tara. Caught off guard, the man tried to turn to see who was holding him, but Aaron plunged his knife into the base of the dirty man’s scull. Blood splattered on Aaron’s face and shirt, but he didn’t notice. His main focus was on saving Tara.

“Thanks,” she said and Aaron nodded.

They crept along staying undetected, but it was taking them a long time to make it to the weapons room. They had seen horrible things being done to people they knew. One intruder, after killing his victim, began chopping the arms and legs with an axe, leaving the dead body in pieces. It all seemed so senseless. Aaron froze as he watched. He knew the man being dissected. He didn’t know him real well, but he remembered talking with him briefly at one of Deanna’s parties. What was his name? Aaron couldn’t remember, but the guy was a soft spoken, wouldn’t hurt a fly type of man. That only got you so far in the world now.

“Aaron,” Tara whispered, drawing him from his thoughts. “It’s too late for him.”

“He was never going to make it,” Aaron said, still in somewhat of a trance. “He wasn’t cut out for this life.”

“Hey, you ok?” Tara said with slight worry.

“We’re vulnerable without those guns,” Aaron told her. “Come on.”

They were getting close. Only a few more houses to get past and they’d be there.  Perhaps they were getting a little careless the closer they got, because they ran out from between two houses without checking first, and suddenly there was a hooded and cloaked figure with a bloody W on their forehead standing before them. Aaron instinctively took a step forward so that Tara was behind him. He locked eyes with the intruder. A hand reached up and pulled a bandana away, revealing the person behind the mask.

“Jesus, you scared the crap out of me,” Aaron said with relief.

“Carol? Why are you dressed like that?” Tara questioned.

“No time,” she rushed to say. She reached into a bag and pulled out two hand guns. Carol handed one to each of them.

“Where’s Carl? Where’s the baby?” Aaron wondered with panic.

“Carl’s at the house. He’s got a shotgun. I told him to stay and protect Judith,” Carol answered. She glanced around like a crazed woman. “I gotta go. Now listen, these people don’t have any guns, but if they find our supply, they’ll be armed. Take out these sons of bitches.”

“Where are you going?” Aaron asked.

“I’m looking for Maggie and Rosita. You haven’t seen them have you?” Carol said.

“Not Rosita, but I saw Maggie earlier. She was with Deanna. They were going outside to look for a spot to plant vegetables.”

“Shit. Well, hopefully they’re ok. Listen, I need you two to keep watch around the weapons room. You see any of these assholes going towards it, shoot them. All of our shotguns, ammo and everything but this bag of handguns is in there, and we don’t need these guys getting a hold of them,” Carol ordered.

“We got it,” Aaron assured her.

Aaron and Tara took up their positions across the street from the weapons storage room. They shot a couple people as they ran by, only killing the ones that looked like they were going to break in. Aaron was worried for Eric and the others at the infirmary. They were there by themselves with no protection except for a locked door. He felt an overwhelming need to go back and keep watch while they worked on saving Holly, but he knew he was needed more here. These people weren’t armed with guns, but if they got a hold of Alexandria’s weapons, the whole town would be in trouble. Still, he knew for a fact that a lot of good innocent people were dying right now. They weren’t armed. They’d been living as though nothing was wrong. They were highly unprepared for such an attack. Aaron fell into that category too. He never thought anyone could get into the town. The walls were high. Daryl had pointed out that they were secure enough. So had Rick. With the support beams on the outside, it was easy to scale the walls. That must be how these people got in. But how did they find Alexandria? The marked walkers and the trees carved with their signature were a couple hours from here. It seemed that these people arrived on foot. They’d not heard engines pull up outside.

They didn’t know how long it had been, but the gunshots finally stopped. Tara looked at Aaron. “Do you think it’s over?”

“I don’t know. Haven’t seen anyone in a bit. I say we loop around, sweep the area. You go that way. I’ll go this way, and we’ll meet back here,” Aaron said.

“Ok. Be careful,” she warned as she took off to the right.

Aaron went left, gun raised as he carefully maneuvered the street. It seemed quiet now. Most of the intruders must have either been shot or fled. Aaron walked down the sidewalk, alert as he passed each house. He was about to pass one when the door slowly opened. Aaron froze and trained his gun on the door. Two men came out, saw Aaron and ignored the gun pointed at them. The first man jumped the railing, as though he was going to land on Aaron. Apparently, he didn’t think Aaron would actually shoot, but he did, and the intruder landed on the pavement, unmoving. The second man realized that Aaron wasn’t playing games, and as he started to run away, Aaron shot him in the back of the head. Aaron took a moment to collect himself, and then he looked up at the house. He knew who lived here. It was a young couple with two small children. Bile began to collect in his stomach to think what might have happened inside. The Allen’s had only lived here for about a year. Aaron had brought them to Alexandria. They were living in a van in the woods after their camp was overrun by roamers. The Allen family managed to escape, and it wasn’t but a couple weeks after that when Aaron and Eric came upon them. Aaron didn’t think twice, and took the family back to Alexandria.

Aaron ascended the steps that led to the front door. He swallowed hard and went inside. His mind conjured up ideas of what he might find, but his heart wasn’t prepared for it. The children, a boy and a girl only five and seven years old, if he came across them … Aaron couldn’t think about it.

So far, the kitchen was deserted, as was the living room. There were signs that the family had just been here. He smelled something burning on the stove, and went to check. Aaron found a skillet with what used to be scrambled eggs, now dried out and brown, burnt as it smoked in the pan. Aaron pushed the skillet to the back and turned the stove off. Some of the drawers were left open, probably from the intruders looking for weapons. The butcher’s block was empty, except for the knife sharpener and a pair of kitchen scissors. The knives were missing. Aaron prayed that he wouldn’t find them, at least not how he feared he would, thrust into the bodies of the Allen family. He had to keep going.

Aaron progressed through the house slowly, always ready with his gun. Then he went upstairs and began searching room by room. The children’s rooms were empty, and so was the parents’ room. He heard a noise come from the bathroom in the hall. The door was closed, and when he tried it, he found it locked. A gasp came from inside, and hope returned.

“Hey, it’s me, Aaron,” he said in a calm voice. “You can come out.”

The door slowly opened, and Mr. Allen poked his head out. “Are you sure?” he asked.

Aaron nodded. “I took care of the guys in your house.”

Mr. Allen opened the door to reveal his wife and children sitting in the bathtub huddled together, pure fear written on their faces. Mr. Allen explained. “My wife was making breakfast for the children when someone knocked on the door. I thought it was odd. We normally don’t have visitors, and never at that time in the morning. I looked through the side window and saw two men I didn’t recognize. They had blood on their foreheads. Looked like a W, but it could have just been a smudge. Anyways, it didn’t add up. I rushed my family upstairs and we locked ourselves in. I thought for sure those guys would come looking for us. We could hear them ransacking the place. I smelled my wife’s eggs burning and thought they’d be upstairs any minute. They had to have known someone was home. Then we heard gunshots and a horn blowing outside. The men downstairs were concerned about that. I heard one of them say to forget about it, grab whatever they could find, and head for the gate. I think the noise and commotion spooked them.”

“We’ve been attacked by a group of unknowns,” Aaron told them. “Carol is out arming some of our people, me included. I saw the men you’re talking about.” He glanced at Mrs. Allen and the children. Then he leaned towards the husband and said softly. “They won’t give you any more trouble, but I suggest you don’t leave your house just yet. And don’t allow the children to look out front.”

“Is there anything I can do?” Mr. Allen asked.

“Just stay here and watch over your family,” Aaron told him. “I need to get back out there. Keep your door locked just in case.”

Mr. Allen nodded and thanked Aaron before he left. Aaron kept on his path until he met up with Tara again. “What did you find?” Aaron asked.

“Couple more of these guys, but I took care of them,” she answered.

“Yeah, me too,” Aaron said. “We need to check on everyone, don’t you think?”

“I’m worried about Denise and the others,” Tara said.

“Let’s head back to the infirmary.”

As they went along back the way they came. Tara stopped and pointed to someone. “Isn’t that Morgan? I thought he was out with the rest of the group doing the practice run today.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought too.” Aaron was suddenly concerned about the group. “You don’t think these guys crossed paths with Rick and the rest, do you?”

“I don’t know,” Tara said, but she was definitely concerned too.

>>------->

What was supposed to be a practice run turned into the real deal. As Rick and the rest began their day at the quarry, the ground finally gave way and a semi-truck tumbled into the enormous pit. Walkers began spilling out of the other side, but that was the wrong direction. The plan had been to move the trucks on the near side and begin the trek. Everything changed in an instant, and Rick was yelling out orders, organizing all the people to their positions. The Alexandrians weren’t ready and they were hesitant. Rick made them understand that they were now following out the plan. There’d be no practice. It was go time.

Luckily, Daryl had already made the necessary alterations to his bike so it would be extremely loud. He jumped on and revved the engine to gain the walker herd’s attention. Sasha and Abraham were in their car, following Daryl. The parade was underway.

“This has to go down without a hitch,” Sasha said on the radio to Daryl.

“We know the route. We just stay out ahead of them, keep their attention. Piece of cake,” Daryl said.

“I’m glad you’re so confident. Just remember. Don’t be the hero,” Sasha commented.

“I don’t want to be a hero,” Daryl said to himself. He’d already put the hand radio in his pocket. “I just want to make it back to Aaron safe. I promised I would.” He thought about Alexandria, and everyone there right now thinking their loved ones were only practicing the move. Unfortunately, they couldn’t afford to send anyone back to town and let them know the change in plans. They wouldn’t be on alert if something bad happened. Shit, Rick was supposed to convince Deanna to arm the residents while the other half of Alexandria was out maneuvering a massive walker herd. The guns were all locked away in the weapons room. Daryl glanced over his shoulder, as he frequently did. The herd was still back there. He blasted the engine a few times just to make sure they heard it, and put his worry to the side. There was no time for mistakes. This whole thing was like leading a great white shark with a minnow dangling right in front of its face. As long as the minnow was the only thing interesting, it would work. The slightest distraction and . . .

He couldn’t think about that right now. He had to reassure himself that Aaron was intelligent and quick thinking. Anything went south, Aaron could take care of himself.

They made it through the first few miles without any problems. The cars that Abraham and his construction crew lined up along the road worked beautifully to keep the herd in line. Now they were on a long stretch of road with forest on either side, but the walkers kept following him, as though he was the Pied Piper. He laughed to himself at the thought of it. Guess there really was something to those faerie tales after all. The dude with the flute knew what he was doing, and so did Daryl, except his flute was a motorcycle, and his rats were walkers. Much more dangerous.

Daryl kept in contact with Sasha and Abraham. He also talked with Rick. Rick was just up ahead with Michonne and Morgan. They were stationed at the most critical point, the turn where they built the wall. Eugene referred to it as being like a bumper in a pinball game. The walkers would hit it and turn in the right direction. Just to make sure, though, Rick, Michonne and Morgan fired flare guns. They fired shots into the sky in the direction they wanted the herd to go. This distracted most, and they went towards the light, just like the little girl Carol Anne from that movie. They made it through a crucial point. All was going as planned. Now just to get them as far from Alexandria as possible.

After a while, Daryl heard Rick say something about Carter on the radio. Stupid son of a bitch got himself bit. “I suppose that was bound to happen,” Daryl thought to himself. Carter was the defiant one, the one who challenged Rick, the one who tried to take him out behind his back, and the one who finally realized what kind of shit the world had turned into. Too little, too late.

Glenn came on the radio. Said he made it to that building with the walkers trapped inside. It was right along the route, and if the herd became distracted by the noise, they’d get off course. He’d taken Nicolas and Heath with him. That part of the plan seemed to be under control. So, they were down one man already, but everything was going along as smoothly as it could. All Daryl had to do was keep leading the herd. Hopefully they’d be home by nightfall.

The radio fired up again after a while, and Rick was in a panic. He said there was a horn blowing in the direction of Alexandria, and half the herd was breaking off to follow the sound. “What?” Daryl shouted into the radio. He looked behind him, but he couldn’t see anything. Then he radioed Sasha and Abraham. “Did you guys hear that?”

“Yeah, but what do you think it is?” Sasha asked. “You think it’s Alexandria?”

“I don’t know. I hope not,” Daryl said. Then he went back to Rick. “You gonna go check it out?”

“We gotta do something, but you need to stay with the plan,” Rick said. “We start branching off and doing things different, we’re all going to be in trouble. Just stay in front of the herd.”

Daryl didn’t like not knowing what was going on. Rick probably didn’t know either. He was playing it as it happened, making it up as he went along. “Half the herd,” Daryl said to himself. “Shit.” He got back on the radio. “I can go back, check it out. Sasha and Abe can keep leading with the car.”

“No,” Rick said quickly. “You keep doing what you’re doing.”

Daryl didn’t want to. He wanted to get back to Alexandria or at least find out where the horn was coming from. What if the town was in trouble? What if it was Aaron or Carol signaling? Every fiber in his being told him to go back. If it was Aaron and he needed help . . .

“Whatcha doing, Daryl?” Sasha said over the radio. “You’re slowing down a little too much. Don’t want these things to catch up to us.”

“You better not be thinking what I think you’re thinking,” Abraham said. “We got our orders.”

“Yeah, I know,” Daryl said reluctantly. He revved his engine again and kept going as planned.

An eternity passed before they heard from Rick again, and when they did it wasn’t good news.

“We’ve had some casualties,” Rick said on the radio. “Trying to stay out in front of the herd. Lost another man. Scott and Annie are hurt. David … David’s been bit. Sturgess ran away.”

“What the fuck happened back there?” Daryl said, frustrated.

Rick ignored him. “Morgan’s on his way back to town to warn the others. Glenn and Michonne are leading the rest, but they’re moving slower because of the injured. I’m going back to the turn, get the RV and lead the herd away from Alexandria. I just got to get out in front of them.”

“You doing that by yourself?” Daryl asked. It seemed like a bad idea. “Why didn’t you take Glenn or Michonne?”

“They’re the strongest. They gotta get the others home. I got this, Daryl. You just stay with the herd, you hear me?” The radio went silent a moment, and then Rick came back on. “I know you’re worried, but you shouldn’t be. Aaron’s strong and smart. Why do you think I picked him to stay behind? I knew that if something like this happened, Aaron would be one of our best lines of defense. Carol too. They know what to do. They’ll make sure the walls will still be standing when we get home.”

“Alright, man. Be careful,” Daryl said. This time the radio went silent for an age.

>>------->

“Daryl,” the radio sparked with static. “Daryl, you copy?”

Daryl grabbed his set and spoke into it quickly. “Rick, what’s going on? Where you at, brother?”

“I made it to the RV,” Rick said, but he sounded extremely winded. “Haven’t heard from anyone in a while. Last I talked to Glenn, they were holed up in some town. Glenn and Nicolas split off from the rest. Said they’re going to make a distraction by burning a building so Michonne and the others could get away. I’m getting ready to–”

Rick stopped talking, and Daryl could hear faint gun shots over the radio before Rick took his finger off the button. “Rick! Rick, what’s that? Is it Glenn? Michonne?”

“No. It’s … it’s coming from home.”

Everyone’s radios went dead for a few moments. Daryl’s urge to fly back to Alexandria was stronger than ever. This whole time he had been going back and forth in his head. His incessant worry for Aaron was getting the best of him. And now there were gunshots. There was no way to communicate with home.

“Want me to go?” Daryl asked, although he didn’t feel he needed permission. “I can go right now, take the next turn and double back. Sasha and Abraham–”

“You can’t leave the herd,” Rick said determinedly.

“I’m not liking that answer,” Daryl commented. “Those are our people back there. We left them with minimal protection.”

“Well, it can’t be the herd that broke off. They haven’t made it that far yet. It could be that they’re taking out a few at the walls.”

“I heard the shots through your radio, man. That was a lot more than just a few sniper hits.” Daryl’s ire was on the rise. “You don’t know that all the walkers are heading your way. Some could have broken off, went another way. For all we fucking know, Alison and her people raided the weapon locker, and while we’re out here, they saw this as their chance to take over.”

“You are not leaving your position,” Rick demanded. “Now, I know we’re all worried. You’re right, Daryl. Those are our people back there, our loved ones, and it’s our first instinct to run to them and help, to make sure they’re ok, but if we abandon our current plan, there won’t be a place to call home anymore. If you leave, you’re only doing it for yourself, but if you stay, you’re doing it for them, and that’s the whole reason we’re out here right now, isn’t it?”

Radios went quiet again while Daryl thought about what Rick said. He was right, but Daryl was still trying to convince himself of that when Sasha came on. “We can’t do this without you, Daryl. It’s you they’re following. I’m afraid this car alone won’t keep their attention.”

They all waited to see what Daryl would do. No response came across the radio. Rick knew Daryl was still in position. It was his last opportunity to convince Daryl he was doing the right thing. “If I trust Aaron to protect my family, then you have to trust that he can take care of himself as well as home.”

“Alright,” Daryl said, barely audible.

“Ok then. Now, I’m gonna sit here a few more minutes, and when I see the herd, I’ll lead them off with the RV. You all just keep doing what you’re doing,” Rick told them.

>>------->

Daryl rode along for a while, leading the herd with Sasha and Abraham behind him. Sasha spoke to him a few times, trying to get a feel for his mood, but Daryl was good at covering his emotions. He might have looked like he was concentrating on the job at hand, but his mind was on Alexandria and Aaron. He knew Aaron was capable of taking care of himself. Daryl remembered some of the stories he shared about his life before the apocalypse and working for a NGO in the Niger River Delta. He’d come face to face with numerous bad people who shoved their guns in his face. He never backed down, saying that the worst thing someone could do in those situations was to show fear. Aaron was good at talking himself out of a tight spot. Daryl had witnessed that for himself a long time ago when they were captured by that group of crazies, back when they first found Caleb. But Daryl couldn’t be sure that Aaron was up against someone that he could have a discussion with. If it was Alison, she undoubtedly wouldn’t listen to a word Aaron had to say. If it was walkers, Daryl would actually feel better. Not knowing what was happening was killing him.

He looked around, trying to get a better idea of exactly where he was. He’d studied the map Rick had, the routes, the roads. He wasn’t that far from the town, and he knew there was a turnoff coming up that would take him back towards Alexandria. He needed to decide right now whether or not to listen to Rick or turn back. Daryl slowed his bike until he fell back beside the car.

“Whatcha doing?” Sasha asked.

“I’m thinking I need to go home, see if they need my help,” Daryl admitted.

“That wouldn’t be wise,” Abraham said like an army sergeant. Daryl was half expecting Abe to call him soldier.

“We need you, Daryl,” Sasha said to convince him. “Without you, I don’t know if this is going to work. You heard Rick. We need to stay on course. Listen, I know you want to get back. I know you’re concerned for Aaron, but what we’re doing right now is for him and all of Alexandria.”

Daryl looked forward, deep in thought, but he was tired of thinking. He needed to take action. He heard what Sasha had to say and he nodded. “I have faith in you guys. You know what you’re doing.” Daryl revved his engine one more time. He could see the fork in the road up ahead. “You got this. See you back home.”

“Daryl!” Sasha shouted, but she couldn’t be heard over the sound of his bike’s engine. Daryl opened her up and took off. Abraham and Sasha watched helplessly as he turned off the road. Sasha slammed her fist on the steering wheel. “Dammit!”

Abraham let her seethe a moment before he said anything. “Man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, but I don’t know whether to call him a hero or a fool.”

“That depends on whether or not he’s alive when we get back,” Sasha said with quiet anger.

>>------->

Daryl sped down the road as fast as he could go, but it wasn’t fast enough. He kept thinking of the gun shots he heard on Rick’s end. There was no telling what was happening. He prepared himself for any situation, at least he hoped he could. He prayed that those shots came from someone in his group, and not Alison’s. Maybe Rick was right and that was just someone in the watchtower clearing walkers from the walls.

He could barely hear his radio sputter static, and he pulled his out of his pocket just in time to hear Rick’s voice. “Daryl, you there? You copy?”

“I’m here. What’s going on?” Daryl answered.

“Still here. Herd should be here soon. How’s it going on your end?”

Daryl looked around at the fast passing scenery. “Going ok,” he said, not revealing his abandonment.

“I’ve been trying to get a hold of Glenn, but there’s been no answer. Should have seen smoke by now, but the sky is clear.”

“You know how it is,” Daryl said. “Shit never goes as easily as your plans.”

“Don’t I know it,” Rick mumbled.

“Everything alright?” Daryl asked, getting the feeling that something had happened.

“Yeah, I just … I cut my hand pretty good. I’ll be ok. I just need to–”

Rick’s words were cut off by the sound of a gun firing, and it sounded real close. “Rick!” Daryl yelled into the walkie talkie several times, but he never received an answer. “Rick, you there? What happened?” There was nothing.

Daryl brought his bike to a stop, and tried to reach Rick a few more times with no luck. “Shit. Shit. Shit.” Those shots were right there, inside the RV. What should he do? Daryl couldn’t get back to Rick. He couldn’t go back the way he came because of the herd. He tried the radio again, calling for Rick, Glenn, Michonne, anyone, but there was only silence. Daryl looked up at the sky. He could see pretty far around him, but there was nothing but blue sky, no smoke, no flares, nothing. It was as though everyone dropped off the face of the earth. He should keep heading back to town, he thought. He should just go back. Maybe he could at least help there.

Help, Daryl thought, and Rick’s words came back to him. Go back to Alexandria and he was only helping himself. Stay with the plan and he was helping everyone else. “Dammit,” he complained. Glenn was missing. Michonne was MIA too. Rick was under attack or … or worse, but he didn’t want to think about that. Daryl might be all that was left. Sasha and Abraham too. They had the bulk of the herd. They were all that was keeping the walkers from wandering towards Alexandria. Rick, Glenn, Michonne … if they were dead, they died protecting everyone back home. Daryl could go home. Maybe he could help out there, or maybe there was nothing left to protect. But if he abandoned his job, he might be helping to destroy everything and everyone.

Daryl started the engine, turned around and headed back the way he came. If he hurried, he’d make it back before Sasha and Abe passed the fork in the road. It was a difficult decision he was making, but his gut said it was the right one, and he usually followed his gut. “You better be alright, Aaron,” Daryl said to himself. “Stay strong, keep it together, fight like a motherfucker, and I’ll be home soon.”

Just as he figured, Daryl reached the intersection just as the car was rolling past. The herd was still in place following behind. He fell in next to the car, but kept his eyes straight ahead.

“You’re back,” Sasha said.

“Yep,” Daryl said tersely. There was no point telling them about Rick and the gun shots or Glenn. “Let’s do this,” he said, and he sped up out in front of the car, revved his engine to spark new interest in the herd, kept his eyes to the front, and buried his feelings of worry and doubt about Aaron.



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